Nehwal feelings positive ahead of Olympic opener

Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal had to settle for bronze the last time she featured at the Olympics in London in 2012, but this time around the fifth seed has a bigger prize in her sights.

Nehwal is on the hunt to become India’s first shuttler to win a gold medal at the Olympics, but arrives in Rio having endured a season blighted by an ankle injury. The 26-year-old was back in the winner’s circle at the Australian Open in June and will be hopeful that her injury troubles are behind her.

While Nehwal knows that the road to the gold medal will be a tough one, she is optimistic about her chances of coming out on top.

“I take each tournament as it comes. My approach to the Games is very positive and I would like to keep it like that and focus on my game,” she told reporters.

Nehwal will begin her Olympics campaign against Brazil’s Lohaynny Vicente on Thursday before facing the Ukraine’s Marija Ulitina on Sunday.

Nehwal is expected to progress through the group stages without a hitch, and believes that if she can stay fit she can down any opponent.

“I feel that on the day that I am 100 percent fit, I have the potential to defeat anyone,” she said. “I feel I am fit. It’s important that you reach the peak and play your best during that particular week. That’s what will count ultimately and will be the key. I am working hard on my half smashes to get closer to my goals.”